The Ohio State University at Newark

Common Book

Common Book at Ohio State Newark

This year’s Common Book is John Lewis’s award-winning civil rights graphic historical memoir March (Volume 1). The book, co-authored with Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell, documents John Lewis’ childhood in rural Alabama, the legacy of segregation in the American South and the struggle for civil rights.

March speaks of what it means to be a witness to history and to be part of the struggle for freedom and justice. It examines critical moments during the civil rights movement and documents how civil rights was a struggle for racial justice and human dignity. The book invites readers to recognize not only how the struggle for democracy and citizenship rights has a long history but that the struggles continue in the contemporary period.

The Common Book Program seeks to:

  • Invite students to immerse in a common intellectual experience during their first year on campus.
  • Promote discussion of contemporary and historical social issues.
  • Help students understand diverse perspectives and the need to value inclusive communities.
  • Help promote research and service-learning projects through faculty-student collaborations.
  • Promote the productive value of engaging with public policy issues and the need to create a just society.
  • Serve as a ground from which students may extend their education beyond the classroom to reflect on issues and are able to practice democratic ideals.

FAQ Common Questions

  • Why is the book important to first year students at Ohio State Newark?
    • The book is designed to engage students in discussions regarding contemporary issues facing local and global communities. The book is part of our campus’s commitment to having students think critically and learn about diversity, equity and inclusion topics.
  • What will I be expected to do after reading this book?
    • Several professors will use the book/readings in the class. Students are expected to participate in discussions and, potentially, develop projects based on the book. More than a simple assignment or task set out in the classroom, the book should be used to reflect upon our world and to promote active citizenship among students, faculty and staff.
  • Will there be events on campus related to the book?
    • The Common Book Committee hosts programs throughout the year through speakers, documentaries and discussion sessions. Due to the current health context, all events may be held virtually or in-person.
  • Do I have to pay for this book?
    • The book is provided free of charge to Newark campus students. Students should discuss with with their professor(s) on how to obtain the book.

Past books, events and projects

2020-21 Resource List

What the eyes don’t see: The story of crisis, resistance, and hope in an American city.
by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation
Thirty-six major contemporary writers examine life in a deeply divided America—including Anthony Doerr, Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell, and many more.

Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A haunting story of love and war from the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists.

Spring 2019
The Hand That Feeds (Documentary Screening)
A documentary film written and directed by Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears.
It chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrant workers as they attempt to achieve fair wages and better working conditions in New York’s Upper East Side.